Before I begin this article, I just want to say that I am so happy that I was proven wrong today. In my Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan article, I had stated that no matter what our opinions were that Wizards of the Coast was going to ban a card to shake up the format. This morning, I woke up to the ban list update to see that nothing got banned.
It made me even more ecstatic to see that they unbanned two cards: Bloodbraid Elf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Two Standard all stars, these cards have been the topics of debate in regards of their unbanning. Each card had their own reasoning, and I’m here to talk about them.
Bloodbraid Elf, Jund’s Speedy Elf
Before its banning in January 2013 Bloodbraid Elf was a staple for the Jund Midrange deck in Modern. Before then, it was the Standard “Bogeyman” that was also in a Jund shell.
Bloodbraid Elf is a 3/2 creature with Haste and Cascade. What Cascade means is you keep exiling the top cards of your deck until you reveal any nonland card with converted mana cost (CMC) lower than Bloodbraid Elf’s. Once revealed, you have the option to cast that card for FREE. This means you can cast anything from Kolaghan’s Command, to Liliana of the Veil, and even Lightning Bolt to deal your opponent a total amount of at least six damage on the same turn.
The reason it got banned was because Jund was a powerhouse in the early part of 2013 and Deathrite Shaman was running amok. This card unfortunately took friendly fire from the ban hammer and never saw play until a few days in the future from now.
What does this mean? Will Jund see a comeback and be able to go toe to toe with the current deck in Modern? Or will something else be made with Bloodbraid Elf? No one knows for certain. However, I can say that a lot of people, me included, are excited for the possibilities.
Jace, the Fear Scu- I mean Mind Sculptor.
Oh boy was there a lot of hatred for this card. This version of Jace was dominate force in Standard for a while, ever since its introduction in the Worldwake set.
This card saw so much play everywhere it could be put into. The most infamous deck that used it as a primary win con were the “Caw-Go” and “Caw-Blade” decks. The reason for the “Caw” part of the name was the inclusion of Squadron Hawk, but those weren’t near the power level Jace was.
Jace’s first ability is something referred to as “Fatesealing”, where the opponent looks at the top card of your deck and decides whether to keep it on top or not. The second ability is referred to as “Brainstorm“, where the player draws three, then puts two cards back on top. The third ability is “Unsummon“, where you return a creature card to its owner’s hand.
The last ability is absurd and is part of the reason why the card is a win condition by itself. Jace EXILES the opponents current deck, and then replaces it with their hand. Congratulations, you just made the opponent’s hand their only source of cards.
This card, along with Stoneforge Mystic, dominated Standard to the point where Grand Prix attendance was dropping. In that meta, the most you ever saw was Jace and little of anything else. So in July 2011, WotC put the ax to Mind Sculptor’s head and removed it from Standard.
So What Happens Now?
For starters, the prices of these two cards have already spiked (Bloodbraid Elf is around $5 and Mind Sculptor soars over $100). Where these decks will see play is both unknown and obvious.
Bloodbraid Elf will more than likely go back to Jund as it was a staple in that deck before its initial banning. Outside of that is not clear. However, I do suspect people brewing Bloodbraid Elf with Ancestral Visions.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor will obviously be in ever Blue-based control deck that exists in Modern. My only concern is is that the card’s impact on the format. As I see it now, Mind Sculptor’s impact may be the same as Tron’s impact on the format: pushing out fair and value decks out of the format and allowing aggro and combo decks to prosper even more. That, or the format is so fast that a turn four Jace is won’t be good enough. We will have to see.
Anyways, that is going to do it for today. Hope you are all excited about these unbannings as I am.
Follow me on this site and Facebook to keep up to date with my content. This week I am going to be going down memory lane and talking about some of my favorite Modern decks that have seen play in the past.
I will catch you guys next time!